Genre not found
Artist not found
Album not found
Song not found

Children's Crusade
Sting Lyrics


Jump to: Overall Meaning ↴  Line by Line Meaning ↴

Young men, soldiers, nineteen fourteen
Marching through countries they'd never seen
Virgins with rifles, a game of charades
All for a children's crusade
Pawns in the game are not victims of chance
Strewn on the fields of Belgium and France
Poppies for young men, death's bitter trade
All of those young lives betrayed
The children of England would never be slaves
They're trapped on the wire and dying in waves
The flower of England face down in the mud
And stained in the blood of a whole generation
Corpulent generals safe behind lines
History's lessons drowned in red wine
Poppies for young men, death's bitter trade
All of those young lives betrayed
All for a children's crusade
The children of England would never be slaves
They're trapped on the wire and dying in waves
The flower of England face down in the mud
And stained in the blood of a whole generation
Midnight in Soho nineteen eighty four
Fixing in doorways, opium slaves
Poppies for young men, such bitter trade
All of those young lives betrayed
All for a children's crusade

Overall Meaning

The lyrics of Sting's song Children's Crusade revolve around the idea of young men being sent to fight a war they do not understand. The song takes us back to the events of World War I, where young soldiers from different countries march into unknown territories with rifles in their hands. These young men are likened to "virgins with rifles," indicating their lack of experience not only in war but in life in general. The term "children's crusade" is used here to emphasize the pointlessness of this war.


The lyrics paint a picture of young lives being lost on the battlefield, with generals who make decisions from a safe distance, not paying attention to the human cost of war. The reference to poppies in the lyrics is significant as they have become a symbol of remembrance for soldiers who lost their lives in battle. The chorus repeats the lines, "All for a children's crusade," which serves as a reminder that the price paid for this war was too high.


The final verse of the song switches to a modern-day situation in Soho in 1984, where opium addicts are compared to soldiers, indicating that the war is still being fought in a different form, with the innocent still being used as pawns.


Line by Line Meaning

Young men, soldiers, nineteen fourteen
This line alludes to the young soldiers who were sent to war in 1914, barely adults but expected to fight for their country.


Marching through countries they'd never seen
The soldiers were sent to foreign lands they had never seen before and had no connection to.


Virgins with rifles, a game of charades
The soldiers, untrained and inexperienced, were given rifles as if it were a game rather than the dangerous reality of war.


All for a children's crusade
This line suggests that the soldiers were merely pawns in a larger game that they did not fully understand or agree with. The 'children's crusade' was an allusion to the medieval crusades, where children were sent on a doomed mission.


Pawns in the game are not victims of chance
While the soldiers may have been seen as pawns in a larger game, they were not simply victims of circumstance or fate.


Strewn on the fields of Belgium and France
The soldiers lost their lives on the battlefields of Belgium and France, their sacrifices forgotten by those who sent them to war.


Poppies for young men, death's bitter trade
The image of poppies symbolizes the lives lost in war, with 'death's bitter trade' suggesting that war is a cruel and unforgiving reality.


All of those young lives betrayed
The young soldiers were betrayed by those who sent them to war and by a society that romanticized conflict.


The children of England would never be slaves
This line is a reference to the myth of English exceptionalism, suggesting that the soldiers were fighting for a noble cause.


They're trapped on the wire and dying in waves
The soldiers were trapped on the barbed wire of the trenches, unable to move forward and dying in large numbers.


The flower of England face down in the mud
This line suggests that the best and brightest of England were lost in battle, their potential and promise wasted in a futile conflict.


And stained in the blood of a whole generation
The bloodshed of World War I stained an entire generation of young people, leaving scars that would last for decades.


Corpulent generals safe behind lines
The generals who led the war effort were often overweight and comfortably situated behind the front lines.


History's lessons drowned in red wine
The lessons of history were ignored in the lead-up to World War I, with decision-makers more concerned with their own comforts and pleasures (represented by 'red wine').


Midnight in Soho nineteen eighty four
This line jumps forward in time to the year 1984 and the neighborhood of Soho in London, suggesting that echoes of the past still linger.


Fixing in doorways, opium slaves
The people in Soho are depicted as 'opium slaves,' addicted to a destructive lifestyle.


Poppies for young men, such bitter trade
The image of poppies is repeated, emphasizing the continued toll of war on young lives.


All of those young lives betrayed
The cycle of betrayal and loss continues, with young people once again being led to their deaths.


All for a children's crusade
The song concludes with the same line it began with, suggesting that the tragedy of war and the sacrifice of young lives continue without end.




Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group
Written by: GORDON SUMNER

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
To comment on or correct specific content, highlight it

Tommy Wells


on Don't Walk Away - Sting & Youssou N'Dour

I liked the Wild Thornberry's TV series.
What's your favorite episode of the show?

Jesus Ledesma Rios


on Englishman in New York

Thats been good way to learn English, tahnk´s...

Kolektivo Azul


on Russians

Russians <3

More Versions